By Michael Morse
Author Catherine J.S. Lee shared excerpts from her fiction—both Island Secrets: Stories from the Coast of Maine, and her in-process collection, Forest Whispers: More Stories from the Coast of Maine, for the April 2 Sunday Afternoons at the Arts Center series.

In Island Secrets Catherine J.S. Lee invents a world before cell phones and social media, when many families lived and worked on Maine coastal islands way down east. Some families had a generational claim on the fictional Spruce Island and East Haven Island, and made their livings on the water, while others worked the tourists trade. There were also seasonal jobs working for “summer folks,” taking care of the large homes and boats.
Like life itself, these stories have mixture of good and bad times, family tensions, dealing with relationships and, not surprisingly, mysterious secrets. References to the people, places, daily tasks and even boat names seem vaguely familiar but just different enough.

Catherine read a story from Island Secrets called “Relentless Tide,” chronicling the Parker family with the crusty patriarch Robert (aka Pop) and long-suffering mother who was the glue that held the family together. The family’s two sons and their sister gather after a tragedy and the family baggage of long held grudges, sibling rivalries, clandestine communications along with collaborating with an enemy all come unpacked. Her stories often keep you guessing but are always entertaining.

Sunday Afternoons at the Arts Center programs are held in Eastport Arts Center’s cozy downstairs Washington Street Gallery, amidst rotating exhibitions. Admission is by voluntary donation; proceeds are shared equally between the presenters and EAC constituent group The Concert Series, which offers year-round programming run by volunteers. No one is turned away for lack of funds.
The complete Sunday series schedule and more posts about upcoming and past programs may be found here: https://eastportartscenter.org/constituent-groups/the-concert-series/.